• A Wonderful Advantage of Innovations in Market Research

    Pakistan companies are yet to utilise the marvel of marketing technology to explore the depth of behavioural sciences to hook consumers. In fact, ask any experienced marketer in the country regarding behavioural economics to sensory insight, programmatic or neuro-research is like asking a four-year-old kid about rocket science.

    Whereas the world achieving wonders to unlock the mystery of behavioural sciences to reach out consumers through neuro-research and behavioural economics to sensory insight and even programmatic, our marketer is still exploring the limit of consumer greed.

    Failure to understand or explore consumers’ cognitive theories that how the certain brand world affecting consumer behaviour and consumer perception regarding the certain brand world, the brands in Pakistan still religiously believe in forced marketing penetration theory of the long past and contributing nothing in the behavioural economics of Pakistani consumers.

    Marketing messages whether ATL or BTL of the local brands are still failed to interpret the core reasoning of the consumers’ actions as what they buy and when they buy under the effect of message decoding, causing uncertainty of rational decisions for them to modify their messages’ frequency.

    Similarly, by virtue of dead progress in the national behavioural economics technology, marketing companies have failed to prioritise marketing opportunities, incentives or offers are needed and what pain points that annoy consumers should be removed.

    To understand consumers and to reap better results modern marketing technology is indisputably enriching companies biggest assets, their brands. Researching consumers through latest technology with the core art of marketing is the best combination for any brand to edge over its competitors.

    In this cut-throat competition no one wants to indulge in wrong decisions so it is very obvious to set brands in the right direction by getting rid of assumption based data, generated by human suppositions.

    Contrary, while researching consumers the personal touch is not lost utterly. Whereas technology has improved successful understanding of the market and its ever-changing dynamics, the personal touch with evidence-based knowledge is the ultimate gain for the companies. The combination is lethal but required utmost precaution because after all, behavioural sciences are inexact scholarship.

    But again, technology is slowly overcoming inaccuracy of this unknown dimension of human nature. As reported part of marketing publications, the following are some example of technological approaches to understand consumer behaviour to make a better marketing decision that have a progressive effect on brands.

    Andy Smith, director of consumer insights at The Hershey Company, which owns brands including Hershey, Kisses and Reese’s, says neuro-research provides knowledge on why and when people eat confectionery. He works closely with emotional intelligence company RealEyes.

    “People are emotional creatures and by using neuro-research we can show that someone is feeling an emotion rather than just asking them about how they feel when they bite into one of our products,” says Smith, who is also a board member at the global Neuromarketing Science & Business Association.

    “We have discovered that consumers will eat chocolate as a small indulgence, so we have to be careful in our advertising about playing on people’s guilt.”

    In the field of Sensory Research, Shuttlestock, a picture library brand, had ventured that choosing the right images for online ads can double viewing time, particularly on the desktop.

    The brand carried out eye-tracking research, which reveals that images work best if they mirror the target audience’s demographic profile.

    For example, consumers who are parents will view ads featuring children longer. Also, using faces can grab people’s attention but ‘busy’ images can turn them off.

  • Back to the Future Branding

    From generation to generation consumers are in habit to recall brands of their time. Their emotional attachments to these brands are undiminishing. Name any of past famous brands to the older generation, their mood would change and one could visibly observe their immediate departure to their past. This emotional transformation is the most amazing aspect of any company’s brand world and not cashing such emotional appeal is the biggest mistake.

    If think strategically, companies that once enjoyed ownership of such brain-alive brands have fairly well chance to attain back brands’ equity in this cutthroat brand competition era, where a tiny recall factor can be a great benefit.

    Brands are spending hugely to build brand recall by positioning in the consumers’ mind. It is like building a nest, straw by straw with utmost care and alertness. The nest can be destroyed but the location is still not erased from the bird’s memory. In fact, seasonal migrated birds love to land on the same spot year after year. Dalda in Pakistan is one example of such. The brand’s famous line “Jahan Mamta Wuhan Dalda” is still the great emotional association for many in the country and core cause of the brand re-emergence to its brand prominence. Unilever with its all brand management might let the brand go in 2004, thinking that the brand is financially dead for sure because of intense competition from local and foreign ghee and cooking oil companies.

    In Pakistan, the demise of brands is mostly because of poor brand management from the parent companies. The companies’ incapability to understand changing marketing realities is the main reasons for their brands’ disappearance, demise and decline to extinct. There are also many other reasons for brands’ decline including:

    1. The parent company stopped investing in the brand’s expansion including product development, innovation and research. Furthermore, the parent companies’ mistake to think that the brands were infallible and “Lady Luck” would keep smiling on them. Paktel is one example in this regard.
    2. The parent companies started investing in other ventures by taking out money from core businesses and ignore their existing best assets’ development.
    3. Lack of consumer behaviour understanding has been a major cause of Pakistani brands’ falters. At the corporate level, the decision makers usually were not well aware of ever-changing marketing dynamics and reluctant to accept changes.
    4. Lack of promotion or stop spending advertising money was yet another reason for the local brands’ demises. It is like what Henry Ford said “stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.”

    All the famous brands of past that vanished left behind strong impartialities and traces on that generations’ memories. Often, these memories are strengthened by famous taglines such as “Jahan Mamta Wuhan Dalda” or “Ah Khuda Meray Abbo Salamat Rahayn” or “Phaly Bata Phir School” or “Sub say Acha aur Sab say Alla Chanda Battery Cell.” The loyalty and trust engendered by those brands are still fresh in the minds their living regulars.

    In fact, companies with a fresh or altered approach can often capitalize on existing equities, overcoming past challenges with greater flexibility, or a fresh strategy, a new consumer target, different product or retail distribution, a brand repositioning, or a modernized version.

  • A brand name is everything!

    Selecting a brand name for a new product is certainly an art and a science. An art and a science have the prerequisite of memorability, meaningfulness, likability, transferability, adaptability, and protectability in the minds of consumers to recall brand names.
    A good brand name is a focal point for all other brand activity to build brand equity and retaining brand equity in the face of constraints and opportunities. For all companies brand name should be a primarily vital initiative because it is the thing to capture and flourish brand’s world imagination and help to create brand infinity.
    A brand name is the shorthand means of brand communication to consumers, which has a tenacity to permanent imprint into the consumers’ memory lane. A brand name is to stay in the mind of consumers and it can be consumers’ best-remembered brand element as other like URLs, logos, symbols, characters, spokespeople, slogans, jingles, packages, and signage tend to change with cultural change, but the brand name is eternal.
    A brand name is also the most dominant of all another brand element. Among brand strategist, it is widely accepted fact coining brand name required utmost consideration to make it easy but fun to pronounce, remember, central to all brand positioning, creative excellence, transferability to other following brands and desired infiniteness, never get archaic and not easy to counterfeit. But it is the Herculean task to coin brand name with all these standards. The biggest obstacle is to readjust brand names to unknown cultures and territories with indigenous pronunciations and meanings.
    Choosing brand name is also becoming a very difficult brand element as Ira Bachrach, a well-known branding consultant, has noted that although there are 140, 000 words in the English vocabulary, the average English speaking adult recognizes only 20, 000; Bachrach’s consulting company, NameLab, sticks to the 7, 000 words that make up the vocabulary of most TV programs and commercials.
    Although a difficult task but not impossible. In fact, the most creative task in the brand building if one can follow and ‘mix and match’ already existed procedures.
    First of all, understand the point of parity to create the point of difference, keeping in mind the concept of memorability, meaningfulness, likability, transferability, adaptability, and protectability. The name should be creatively simple and easily pronounceable, ease to spell and meaningful familiarity. It can be surname like Mitchell’s, descriptive like Pakistan International Airlines, invented Kodak, connotative, bridge or can be arbitrary like Apple or Yahoo.

  • Brands are the most treasured possessions for companies

    In this branding-brand-world the most treasured possession of any company of the world is the names associated with their brands. Creating awareness about their brands’ features and justifying their brand promises are the most critical tasks for any company. But the task is complex in nature as the competitions among the brands are that and the companies need competent brand teams to simplify decision-making, reduce risk, and set unique expectations to complete the task. For any brand team, brand management imperative is the ultimate energy-source to build strong brands that can create desired brand awareness by fulfilling brand promise over time.
    But unfortunately in Pakistan a vast majority of organisations are not well aware of a deeper understanding of how to achieve those branding goals, even the basic objectives to search the core issues in evaluating, implementing and planning their brand strategies. Moreover, almost all companies are black about their brands’ core concepts or ever tried to fix their shortcoming by applying branding research, using brand tools, theories and other tested models for their own benefits.
    Brand companies in Pakistan need to place specific importance on understanding psychological principles at the individual or organisational level in order to make better decisions about their brands. This principle is not only relevant to big and strong companies or brands, but the objective is to be relevant for any type of organisation regardless of its size, nature of business, or profit orientation.
    Pakistani companies to gain success in brand world must consider the functions of a brand from the perspective of both consumers and firms and should explore brands importance to both.

  • Not having a marketing department is a big, big, big mistake!

    Image source:

    A marketing department is not a waste of money! In fact, it is the best way to make a lot money and good marketing department can take a company to a new level. Companies without marketing departments are like “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.” Marketing is power; it is the booster and a magical tonic. If not then Coca-Cola, Apple, Nike, Google, BMW are not what they are now – the most recognisable logos in the world.
    It is not the only brands’ recognitions, but it is evaluation through the years from a humble sales department to the most modern money making process. It is not the “single kill” department, but it is functions and processes of cross-disciplinary teamwork to achieve better financial benefits and for brands’ equity.
    Not having marketing departments mean disorganisations, denial of functional specialisation, zero focus on geography and regionalization, product and brand management, and market-segment management. Moreover, companies will not establish a matrix organisation consisting of both product and market managements.
    Marketing is the strongest link to create progression and cooperation R&D, engineering, purchasing, manufacturing, operations, finance, accounting, and credit. It is also a bridge between customers and companies.
    Marketing is the great involvement in all elements of any company’s operations to work closely with its suppliers, channel partners, with the understanding that each element or function provides an opportunity to market the product to the ultimate consumer.
    Buy and selling is a tip of marketing iceberg. Marketing is deep. Money making is one benefit, but taking brands and companies offering to the new level is the real gain to have the good marketing department.
    Without marketing, there is no increase in customer baseline and companies without marketing departments in Pakistan are “living in a fool’s paradise.” Marketing, in general term, is to create and exchange value with customers. Peter F. Drucker in his famous book “In the Practice of Management” while defining the concept “there is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer… [Therefore], any business enterprise has two – and only these two – basic functions: marketing and innovation… Marketing is the distinguishing, the unique function of the business.”
    Without marketing companies are directionless because marketing has a major role to play in setting a company’s strategic direction. Companies without marketing departments are lacking management responsibilities. Marketing is the source of providing the foundation of organisation development and strategies to deal with wide variety of situations. Therefore, achieving marketing excellence in the future will require a new set of skills and competencies.
    Marketing is not just yet another function; it is also be concerned for the welfare of society as a whole. In this world, the biggest tangible and intangible source of welfare work is being financed by companies through their marketing based incomes. Strategically emotional currency is more precious in today’s corporate world and through company-consumers engagement as more and more companies are turning to corporate social responsibility in order to bolster their reputation, as well as their profits.
    Companies can make names among corporate compatriots by practising social responsibility through their legal, ethical, productively link social responsibility to consumer marketing programs. Social marketing is done by a non-profit or government organisation to directly address a social problem or cause.
    The marketing department is the solution to recognise and to diagnose marketing problem, assessing where the problem exists, and evaluating results through. Having no marketing department can lead to chaos in monitoring and control of marketing activities. Marketing plan control ensures the company achieves the sales, profits, and other goals in its annual plan. The main tools are sales analysis, market share analysis, marketing expense-to-sales analysis, and financial analysis of the marketing plan. Profitability control measures and controls the profitability of products, territories, customer groups, trade channels, and order sizes. Efficiency control finds ways to increase the efficiency of the sales force, advertising, sales promotion, and distribution. Strategic control periodically reassesses the company’s strategic approach to the marketplace using marketing effectiveness and marketing excellence reviews as well as marketing audits.
    So, not having marketing department is a big, big, big mistake!

  • Time to exploit digital riches by letting go traditional views of marketing

    Image source: Pixabay

    Image source: Pixabay

    This is time to change, time to progress and time to exploit digital riches by letting go traditional views of marketing and adopt the new digital realities to benefit from this buzz technology. This is not only time to change, bring change and enjoy the change. The new marketing digital realities are fun, favour and financial forward. This is the magic of the moment and the future’s in the air.
    But listening to the wind of change is not so promising in Pakistan. The local companies are not in the mood of listening or accepting the rationale that it is important to focus on how and why the traditional view of marketing has changed and to introduce the various ways of measuring performance in the market for their own profit.
    An irony is that companies with the vast operational experiences in Pakistan markets have great difficulty accepting the encompassing role that marketing has on the other functional disciplines within their companies. Their reluctancy has exposed them as a gifted “Seths,” (proprietors) who have never been exposed to proper marketing and its components, they are there because it was “Allah’s will” and a gift of “Sethism” has been bestowed upon them. They have nothing to do with the world of marketing, nothing can excite them nor can they educate themselves about the “world of marketing.” To them “Buss, naam hee kaafi hai!”
    In this new marketing world, the new normal is willing to spend for greater digital social coverage to gain more and more customers’ traffic. There is a fundamental disconnect between willingness versus spending to cover higher grounds during the ongoing instance digital era. It is a Herculean task for the marketing strategists to convenience “Seths” that their companies’ digital presence has potential to spectacularly increase their ROI.
    Tacking new marketing digital realities is nowadays new imperative for every leader, manager of the field. It is worthwhile playing field, which is also transforming marketing landscape and not adjusting and exploiting the potential is not at all good strategy to compete in a crowded market.
    This is important to understand that adopting and practising new digital realities is not about the current quick gain, but it is planning for the future. Companies must look up and must keep looking up, make future from the present strategy and make their past to make their future perfect.
    Pakistan is now rapidly improving its digital image and this is the best time for local companies to synergise their potential for better uplift. The recent and ongoing proliferation of mobile devices with faster 4G connectivity and tariff cuts can be greater fuel for larger benefits as the use trend of social media is gearing up to the new levels.
    Consumer behaviour and their purchasing decision have been transforming to new dimensions in the country. Consumers are now taking their purchasing decision after surfing on social media for the better reviews and judgments of connected consumers’ experiences. They are getting more conscious to choose brands and always on the look regarding consumer promotions. They keep themselves updated with the product, price, placement and promotions. They want that their purchase would be well researched, informed and exact. They are well alert to word of mouth and conscious admiration for “word of mouse,” too. Their acceptance and rejects are very blunt.
    It’s time to realise that “the wind of change blows straight into the face of time” and acceptance and adaptation are the best bet for the companies and their “Seths”!

  • Advertising Complexities of Marketing Companies



    Marketing Companies in Pakistan is sure to familiar to art of advertising, but understanding science of the field is somewhat not very clear to them. Most of them are sure of advertising as the only tool to build their brand, but not aware of the fact that advertising is one portion in marketing, not the complete marketing.

    Advertising is true to be the most visible tool of marketing and on the contrary the greater cost in the marketing process. Advertising is just one more thing on the marketing plate, it is not the whole plate!

    What might present challenges to some companies is to understand the ideas surrounding advertising process involved: set advertising objectives, establish a budget, choose the advertising message and creative strategy, decide on the media, and evaluate the effects?

    To a large extend companies advertising complexities is the direct results of advertising agencies lack of scientific approach to support and facilitate companies’ most valuable assets, their brands.

    It is a widely believed concept that advertising is a magical tonic to build great brands is somewhat is fading fast as modern art of branding is making companies to realize that brands cannot be built by totally relying on advertising.

    The connection between the brand and advertising is no more just a creative message to inform, to pursue and to entertain. Advertising complement brands and showoff for brands. Completely relying on advertising to build brand is not strategically-fit stir. Nowadays brands are more than promotion. Catchy creative messages through ATL and BTL activities to a mass audience is not utterly effective in isolation in today’s brand building, but they can be more advantageous if utilise with new and practised brand building paradigms.

    What lack in Pakistani advertising agencies are talent, technology and tolerance. No fitting talent is charmed, no understanding of agency related methodically technology like creative tools, ideas tools or brand tools and lastly no tolerance to acceptance.

    As I have mentioned in my book, Branding Matters! 2016, Chapter 5, – Brand Building before Advertising – “Today, brand building is not only about advertising and selling to beat the competition, but brand building strategy necessitates a necessary knowledge of the internal culture of the companies, financial systems, business operations, Human Resources policies and Consumer Relationship Management, which the ablest advertising agency cannot even capable of dealing such requirements. Above all, the most resourceful advertising agency in the modern scenario often even has difficulty or is ignorant to comprehend how their clients make money.”

    In my country the greater source of companies’’ inspiration that advertising build brand comes from their observation when they see big brands, spending money on their integration marketing communications (IMC). They are not aware of the fact or have experience that advertisers can maintain the brand through their professional art, but cannot build a brand on it exclusively.

  • Good & Bad of Relying on Marketing Intermediaries

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    Whereas the far and wide progressive marketing companies have begun developing a value network system to get directly products in the hands of consumers, but in Pakistan dependency on intermediaries are getting higher. Companies are heavily relying on a host of marketing intermediaries, enslaving themselves to this third party power. Besides compromising their core brands’ value, risking product/services quality lose and their consumers ended up paying an additional cost.

    In Pakistan majority producers do not offer their products and services directly to final consumers. Between companies and end consumers there is a tall presence of marketing channels, a host of marketing intermediaries performing a variety of activities, keeping their financial vested interests? The idea is not to avail services of these marketing intermediaries, agents and facilatators, but heavely relying on their capability to deliver brand promise to craft brand value is a questionable process. Most of the local and foreign companies operating in Pakistan either not fully focussed or deliberating joined bandwagen to adopt slack marketing channel decisions, which are among the most critical decisions facing management because the company’s chosen channel(s) profoundly affect all other marketing decisions.

    It is common practise that companies use intermediaries when they lack the financial resources to carry out direct marketing, when direct marketing is not feasible, and when they can earn more by doing so. The most important functions performed by intermediaries are information, promotion, negotiation, ordering, financing, risk taking, physical possession, payment, and title. But in Pakistan there is flip effect, companies even a reasonable resources are shifting burden to marketing intermediaries because of companies’ lack of businesses seriousness. One example, which I always consider a big mistake, is not having marketing department to market their brands.

    Manufacturers have many alternatives for reaching a market. They can sell direct or use one-, two-, or three-level channels. Deciding which type(s) of channel to use calls for analysing customer needs, establishing channel objectives, and identifying and evaluating the major alternatives, can be better operative if it can opt for direct sell.

    A value network is one big misunderstanding for Pakistani companies. They are only focused on financial value, ignoring companies’ suppliers, their suppliers’ suppliers, their immediate customers, and their end customers. It is utmost necessary that they should identify their and set up a value network for the company by compare and contrast the components of the value system to a competitor. To be success in the market companies should identify the components of the value network that produced the augmented offering.

  • Unstable Foreign Grounds for Pakistani Brands

    big angry boss screaming at small startled worker

    big angry boss screaming at small startled worker

    Why Pakistani brands so far have failed miserably to find acceptance in other countries? The answer is very long. But primarily ground is very unstable for Pakistani brands, marred by unstable governments’ policies, foreign-exchange problems, corruption, and lack of technological advancements. Besides, the local companies have no will to internationalize their operations.
    The local companies’ lack of enthusiasm is the direct results of their own fallacies, which are strongly based on their incompetencies and running the organisation on “force-fitting” dictator basis rather than well defined marketing management.
    The irony is that many local marketing companies even do not have marketing departments; in fact, they still in believe that sales and marketing is the same. No idea of marketing objectives and they are happy with sales ratio. Indeed, a big, big, big mistake!
    Moreover, these companies are of the view that research and development is nothing but waste of money and failed to understand that as many countries are eliminating foreign competition through protective legislation, the better way to compete is to continuously improve products at home and expand into foreign markets.
    Performing in other countries to flourish brands means utmost marketing understanding as global competition is intensifying in more product categories as new firms make their mark on the international stage. Competition from is heating up to new level.
    The problem with Pakistani companies that they have no mechanism upon deciding to go abroad; they have no capabilities to define their international marketing objectives and policies. In absence of such mechanism they have no clue to take crucial decisions whether to market in a few or many countries and rate candidate countries on three criteria: market attractiveness, risk, and competitive advantage.
    It is a lesson to learn that developing countries offer a unique set of opportunities and risks. The “BRICS” countries—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—plus other significant markets such as Indonesia are a top priority for many global firms.
    There are very weak modes for the Pakistani companies to enter foreign markets by indirect exporting, direct exporting, licensing, joint ventures, and direct investment. By virtue of scrawny methods, which have required succeeding strategy entails more commitment, risk, control, and profit potential.
    In deciding how much to adapt their marketing programs at the product level, firms in Pakistan are widely reluctant to pursue a strategy of straight extension, product adaptation, or product invention. At the communication level, their failure to choose communication adaptation or dual adaptation is further redundant. At the price level, firms are encountering price escalation, dumping, gray markets, and discounted counterfeit products. At the distribution level, firms are yet to understand strategically that they need to take a whole-channel view of distributing products to the final users. Local firms are far away to consider the cultural, social, political, technological, environmental, and legal limitations they face in other countries.

  • Finding Gold – Marketing Information

    A treasure chest full of gold coins

    Marketing companies in Pakistan whether new or old have always been surprised while discussing with likes of me at the level of marketing information, intelligence, and areas that marketing companies and their employees must operate within if they want to be successful in the competition.
    It has been become a routine for local marketing strategists in my country to stress to the marketing companies that the marketing of products/services and the processes of making marketing decisions do not operate without careful consideration of the environments identified as identifies in many ways. But the thinking must divert to a modern marketing strategy that it must be cognizant of “how” their company’s product or service is perceived as much as “how” it functions.
    It is necessary that the head of the marketing department must consider himself/herself as a player in the game of chess. Each move must be carefully chosen for subsequent moves by competition and public scrutiny for acceptance or rejection. Products marketed must meet both the consumer’s needs as well as the public’s acceptance of the product.
    It is always challenging in my country to communicate to the marketers, even an experienced one, the complexity of and sometimes the conflicting forces impacting marketing managers in the today’s environment.
    To carry out their analysis, planning, implementation, and control responsibilities, marketing managers need a marketing information system (MIS) to assess information needs, develop the needed information, and distribute it in a timely manner.

    For the successful marketing MIS, companies must consecrate on three components: (a) an internal records system, which includes information about the order-to-payment cycle and sales information systems; (b) a marketing intelligence system, a set of procedures to obtain everyday information about the marketing environment; and (c) a marketing research system that allows for the systematic design, collection, analysis, and reporting of data and findings relevant to a specific marketing situation.

    Smart marketers always alert to find many opportunities by identifying trends (directions or sequences of events that have some momentum and durability) and megatrends (major social, economic, political, and technological changes that have long-lasting influence).

    Within the rapidly changing global picture, Pakistani marketers must monitor most applied and practised six major environmental forces: demographic, economic, social-cultural, natural, technological, and political-legal.
    1. In the demographic environment, marketers must be aware of worldwide population growth; changing mixes of age, ethnic composition, and educational levels; the rise of non-traditional families; and large geographic shifts in population.
    2. In the economic arena, marketers need to focus on income distribution and levels of savings, debt, and credit availability.
    3. In the social-cultural arena, marketers must understand people’s views of themselves, others, organisations, society, nature, and the universe. Their products must correspond to society’s core and secondary values and address the needs of different subcultures within a society.
    4. Acknowledging the public’s increased concern about the health of the natural environment, marketers are embracing sustainability and green marketing programs.
    5. In the technological arena, marketers should take account of the accelerating pace of technological change, opportunities for innovation, varying R&D budgets, and the increased governmental regulation brought about by technological change.
    6. In the political-legal environment, marketers must work within the many laws regulating business practices and with various special-interest groups.

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